A luxury hotel with history and style just south of the center of Florence, the Villa Cora was built in the late 1860s by Baron Oppenheim, a German financier, and was restored in 2010. It is part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux fellowship of hotels and restaurants. With a unique heated outdoor pool and a subterranean spa, the special property is a good spot for both relaxation and sightseeing. Those who are up for it can walk a little more than a mile and a half to attractions in the center of Florence, including the Duomo, but the hotel also offers a free shuttle. The hotel provides a fairly good value for its class and amenities.
After entering the gate, guests are transported back into history. From the gilded Hall of Mirrors to suites with original frescoes, the atmosphere at the Villa Cora evokes the grandeur of bygone times. But the 2010 update, which included the addition of a sleek outdoor pool, gives guests access to 21st-century luxuries.
The property is located on a hill just outside the center of the city, in a wooded area surrounded by many luxurious villas. It’s about a half-hour walk to the Ponte Vecchio, with Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens on the way. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the city center.
The 46 large rooms, including six suites, are spread out over four floors and are a mixture of styles. In some rooms, the decor is accented by roses — said to be the favorite flower of Princess Eugenia, wife of Napoleon III, who visited the villa years ago — and other rooms have decor with Oriental and Moorish elements. The historic suites on the first floor have original frescoed ceilings. The junior suite on the fourth floor, with an America in the 1940s theme, is accessed by a private elevator. Large bathrooms have tubs with showers and modern fixtures. Amenities include plasma TVs, minibars, robes and slippers.
The large heated outdoor pool, added during the restoration, is a draw. Between May and October, all meals and drinks are served at Le Pool Bistrot, with Il Pasha dishing out the creative Tuscan cuisine in the winter. The basement spa includes a sauna, steam room and whirlpool in a room of white marble, along with a small fitness center. Massages and other services can be booked. There is also a masculine Cigar Room, where guests can light up a Cuban and sip brandy.